I was traveling back east for the past week on business. Starved on Sunday, I entered the hotel restaurant to grab a late lunch. With numerous empty tables in clear view, the hostess put her head down into the computer to see if there was a table available.
As you can see, there were several clearly available. But, after several minutes, I had to point it out to her. And, when she started to lead me to a darken table in the back room, I had to stop and insist on a table with sunlight. The hostess didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t sitting where the computer told her to seat me. I was messing with their technology. I was messing with their plan.
The restaurant’s technology was standing in between me and a basket of bread, and I was having none of it.
The experience got me thinking about technology and client service. I love technology. Technology allows us to be reached 24/7 via BlackBerry, use WiFi to work from nearly anywhere, and Twitter our every moment. But how many of us now use e-mail or texting to avoid conversations? How many of us screen our calls to avoid direct communication? As we begin the countdown to holiday card season, how many will wonder if it’s ok to send out an e-mail, rather than a personally signed card?
When I think about technology, I want it to advance my client awareness, not curtail it. I want technology to clear my plate so I can spend more time face-to-face with my clients. I want technology to enhance my ability to build “known, liked, trusted” experiences with my clients and referral sources. But, when technology only benefits the service provider, rather than enhance the experience of the customer/client, than it must be removed.